Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Artdog Image of Interest

All the artwork at FenCon's art show is being prepared in this photo.

Artwork at FenCon

The Artdog Image(s) of Interest

displayed my artwork at FenCon XVI. You might remember I mentioned that in my mid-week post.

I spent a large chunk of time Thursday on the FenCon XVI Art Show. That was “setup day,” when the tables and display panels went up, and then the first of the art (the mail-ins and the work of artists able to arrive today) did, too. 

The artwork at FenCon is coming together at last in this photo of progress in setting up the art show as of about 5:00 Thursday evening.
Here’s how much of the artwork at FenCon XVI had been set up in the Art Show by about 5 p.m. Thursday. I’m not sure whether you can tell by comparing with my photo from last year, but t’s a much larger space than they had for last year’s Art Show.

As much as possible, all the rest of the art went up Friday, preferably before the Art Show opened to the public on Friday at 2:00 p.m.

Artist Guest of Honor Peri Charlifu

Peri Charlifu is one of the most talented and generous human beings I know–and I don’t think I’d get any naysayers if I asked others who know him if that was a fair characterization. He’s this year’s Artist Guest of Honor at FenCon XVI, so of course Ty and I found him working as hard as any member of the Art Show staff. His artwork at FenCon this year is a glorious bounty, and he gave me permission to photograph his artwork and post it online.

Rhonda Eudaly helps Peri Charlifu set up his artwork at FenCon.
Thursday Art Show setup with Rhonda Eudaly (L) helping Peri Charlifu (R) set up his display in the FenCon XVI Art Show.

I’ve taken full and gleeful advantage of his permission to photograph and post about his artwork at FenCon. He knows I love to tell my readers about cool new artwork that I encounter. 

Furthermore, he dares me or anyone else to take his ideas and execute them as well as he does. It’s a dare I would never take. I’ll happily promote him and his work till the world looks level, but the only way to get a real Peri Charlifu piece is to buy it from HIM.

Here's another look at more of Peri's commitment to bringing artwork to FenCon.
Peri Charlifu brought a dizzying array of artwork to FenCon XVI. They include awesome ceramics, sets, and kits, as well as 2D work.

If you’re on Facebook, I invite you to wander through the in-depth gallery of his work I posted on my Artdog Studio Facebook Page, as well as the Tale of Peri Potter and the Sorcerer’s Bowl, which involves a fun story about Peri, the author Rhonda Eudaly, and the special alchemy of artists inspiring each other.

Some of the artwork at FenCon has more than its share of unusual visual, "Petunia's Bowl of Prophecy" is definitely one of them!
This deceptively simple piece of art, Petunia’s Bowl of Prophecy, 2019, by Peri Charlifu, is partially from the mind of Rhonda Eudaly, the author whose manuscript is hooked under the edge of the pot. Read the story of how he inspired her, then she inspired him on my Artdog Studio Facebook Page.

My own artwork and that of Lucy A. Synk

Since DemiCon, I’ve been acting as an art agent for my friend Lucy A, Synk–or at least, my son Tyrell and I have been. I contact the show and manage the paperwork, but usually it’s Ty who puts up the show. And it’s also usually he who takes it down afterward. So of course we brought her artwork to FenCon.

All of these pieces of artwork are ©2019 by Lucy A. Synk. Each is a one-of-a-kind original. (Photo by Tyrell E. Gephardt, 2019).
All of these artworks also are ©2019 by Lucy A. Synk. Each is a one-of-a-kind original. 
(Photo by Tyrell E. Gephardt, 2019).
I also had artwork at FenCon. Thank goodness, my panel wasn’t quite as crowded as the one at SpikeCon, but almost.

IMAGE CREDITS: Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me, Jan S. Gephardt, and they may be re-posted or reblogged freely, as long as you attribute me as the photographer and include a link back to this post. Many thanks! 

If you wish to reblog or repost images of Peri Charlifu‘s workartwork, please attribute him as the artist, and provide a link back to his website. I’d also appreciate it if you’ll identify me as the source, with a link back to this post, please.

If you wish to reblog or repost Lucy A. Synk’s artwork, please attribute her as the artist and Tyrell Gephardt as the photographer, and link back either to Lucy’s page or to this post. Many thanks!

How does “productive” architecture go beyond sustainability?

The Artdog Image of Interest

TEDx speaker, architect Dong-Ping Wong, lays out a case for moving past “sustainable” and transitioning into “productive” architecture. Specifically, he describes architecture that produces three kinds of benefits:

Solar and wind energy (see below).

Solar and wind energy (see below).

Clean water filtration in a river, via his +POOL project.

Agricultural crop yields in the middle of a city (strong echoes of my Rana Station, here! Who knew?). He calls it an “urban quilt of productivity.”

At left is an overview map of the peninsula jutting out from Copenhagen that was chosen for the development. At right is a detail of an area with several arable fields and even a water treatment facility.

I’ll warn you: this is longer than my usual “Image if Interest” video. But I thought the direction he’s going, and the solutions he outlined, might be just as fascinating to you as they were to me.

Moving into the 21st Century by moving beyond “first thoughts” about sustainability is, to me, an essential next step. 

I liked Wong’s example of housing conceived as a solar array. It’s designed as a five-tower residence in LA, the largest city in a state that has already mandated that as of 2020 solar panels be incorporated into all houses). 

The illustration shows three images: a traditional rectangular-block building that captures higher wind velocity along one edge of the roof at left, then in the middle is Wong's triangular shaped building with wind turbines staged all along the hypotenuse of the right triangle (it actually would be a prism in 3-d). On the right is an artist's visualization of what the triangular-shaped buildings might look like.
Instead of capturing increased wind velocity at just one point,  Wong and his colleagues designed structures to create a whole surface capturing much more energy, to the point that they become more than self-sufficient.

He also describes a south-Dallas project designed to capture enough wind energy to “power a 600-unit housing block,” and actually produce more energy than it needs.

If we are actually to have a chance of slowing climate change and ameliorating its effects, we must react intelligently.

I think our responses must resonate all the way down into basic design principles, built on entirely new assumptions about the purpose of our built environment. It starts with thinking the way Wong and his colleagues are.

IMAGES: Many thanks to TEDxDumbo 2012, a TEDxCity2.0 event, for this video. I screen-captured the still images from Wong’s presentation.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words . . . they’re not enough to sum up a Worldcon

The Artdog Image(s) of Interest

A Worldcon 76 montage: Clockwise from upper L: My badge, with ribbons; on the walk between the Convention Center and the Fairmont (where I’m staying); (center) Chesley Award winners Neil Clarke and Gregory ManchessWilliam F. Wu with his new book; the lineup of Chesley Award trophies; the hour-long line to get our badges.

I’m at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention, AKA “Worldcon 76” or 

#Worldcon76. There’s one committee, the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS), that guides and works with local groups that sponsor each individual event, but the Worldcon is always on the move.

This year, it’s in San Jose, CA, USA. Last year it was in Helsinki, Finland. Next year, Dublin, Ireland.  There’s a New Zealand bid for 2020, which we’ll vote on this year. It’s truly a world event. This year, of course, there are a lot of Americans and Canadians, and folks from all over the Pacific area.

This year’s Artist Guest of Honor, John Picacio, looked back through the archives and realized he was the very first Mexican (Latin, Hispanic, or however you prefer to designate him) GoH honoree in Worldcon history. His Mexicanx Initiative (now an anthology project on Kickstarter) has helped fund the attendance of 42 Mexican authors, artists, and other creatives (they invited 50 but some had conflicts). BTW, none had trouble at the border.

Last night, I helped present the Chesley Awards (annual honors bestowed by the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists or ASFA, a group I’ve long supported and occasionally helped run). We had the Retro Hugo Awards on Thursday. This year’s Hugo Awards event is Sunday.

What am I getting at, you may ask? I’m getting at the fact that a Worldcon is a lot of things, and a single image just can’t sum it up. Even a montage, such as this one only covers a fraction of the event, because no single human can cover ALL of it. It’s been taking me for freeking EVER to put the thing together, too (this post is late, because I keep falling asleep from exhaustion with my computer in my lap). If you’re reading this, I eventually did finish! 🙂

IMAGES: All photos in this montage were taken by Jan S. Gephardt at the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, CA, USA, on 8/15-16/2018. You may re-post or re-blog this image with my permission, as long as you (1) don’t materially alter it; (2) include an attribution; and (3) provide a link back to this page. Thanks!

An improvisation with legs

The Artdog Image of Interest 

This is the first spark of the idea–an image finished at last! The First Guardian (2013-18) still needs a mat, but I hope to start exhibiting it soon.


rediscovered a forgotten piece of artwork the other day. Well, it was part of a piece of artwork. I knew it wasn’t finished yet. I’d put it together sometime back in 2015 or 2016 (I’d like to say I keep better records than that, but no. There are gaps).

At the time, I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to finish it, so I did what I usually do with such pieces. I set it aside. Recently I figured out a background and color scheme I liked, put them together, and as soon as I can get it matted I’ll begin exhibiting this work at science fiction conventions.

Part of this piece was based on a corner of my much-exhibited “mainstream” piece, Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy (2013), which made the rounds of national juried shows all over the country in its two-year heyday.

Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy (2013) was a success, by certain standards. However, it now resides in a box on a shelf in my studio. Meanwhile, more and more of my “Guardians” multiple originals series have found new homes and given pleasure, thanks to art shows at science fiction conventions.

Those “mainstream” shows cost a lot to enter, and a lot to ship a framed piece to (not to mention the cost of framing the piece in the first place). They are somewhat prestigious, but I never sold anything at any of them, and my quantity of output was always too low to interest a gallery. I have stopped exhibiting work in those shows since then.

Originally, there was going to be a “light cycle” of Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy and a “dark cycle.” I had several of the “nine parts” finished or partially finished for the “dark cycle” when I shifted the focus of my art exhibition efforts to smaller and more overtly fantasy artworks, designed for science fiction conventions. Those suddenly-orphaned parts joined bits and parts from at least a dozen other projects in a collection of storage boxes.

You might recognize some of these “art parts” from other finished artworks I’ve created. In the future, you may see more of these bits, bobs and elements used in new artwork I haven’t created yet.

Periodically I’ll pull all the boxes of pieces-of-pieces out, play with combining them in different configurations, and see what kind of compositions I can come up with. Sometimes I’ll see possibilities for combining parts from two or more different former projects, often with new pieces added, new backgrounds, or other additional elements.

These are the “Guardians” multiple-original compositions. They are: Top row L-R: Fierce and BraveBottom row L-R: Defender and Protector. I am delighted to report that they have been well-received each time I’ve exhibited them.

There are several differences between the piece I finally just recently finished and have titled The First Guardian, and the multiple-original editions I call the “Guardians” series. I based them on the earlier, improvised piece, but I think you’ll notice several differences, too.

For me, this is one of the fun things about my paper sculpture–but it’s also one of the frustrating things. The creative process isn’t always (make that: is almost NEVER) straightforward. An idea I’m sure will be fantastic . . . doesn’t always work out that way. Parts don’t always go together the way I think they will. And sometimes things come together in ways I never would have imagined when I started the earliest parts.

IMAGES: All of the photos in this post were taken by me, Jan S. Gephardt, of my own artwork and art-making materials. If you wish to re-post or re-blog any of them, please attribute them to me and include links back to this post. Thank you!

One-of-a-kind Rosa Bonheur

The Artdog Images of Interest

Portrait of Rosa Bonheur, 1860, photo by André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri

This has been my week to just miss anniversaries. Earlier this week I missed K9 Veterans Day. This time it’s the anniversary of my subject’s birth: Rosa Bonheur (born Marie-Rosalie Bonheur) was born March 16, 1822.

In the course of her 77 years, Bonheur became the most famous woman painter of her century, won a long list of honors for her artwork including the Legion of Honor, and shocked a great many sensibilities with her highly original lifestyle.

She was literally born a rule-breaker. Her family, inspired by her father, were Saint-Simonians, followers of a radical-for-that-period socialist political philosophy that held, among other things, that men and women should be considered equals, and all class distinctions should be abolished (of course the group soon split, with one faction unable to accept the idea of female equality). 

Ploughing in the Nivernais, 1849, was Rosa’s first “big breakout” painting. She had exhibited at the Salon before, but this one was a commission by the state, after she’d won her first gold medal at the Salon.

Rosa never formally studied art (the École des Beaux-Arts didn’t even accept women at that time). Luckily for Rosa and the world, her father Oscar-Raymond Bonheur was an artist. He taught all four of his children to be artists, in the tradition of the family workshop. They helped him with some of his commissions, and later helped each other as well. 

Rosa’s brother Isidore was a noted sculptor; Rosa exhibited sculpture when she was young, but according to her Art History Archive biography she “did not want to overshadow” Isidore. Apparently she had no such compunctions about overshadowing her other siblings Auguste and Juliette; like her, they were primarily known as animal-painters, or animalières

The Horse Fair, 1852-55, is Rosa’s most famous painting. It is an enormous canvas, with a complex composition (she called it her own Parthenon Freize). It secured her reputation as a master of her genre and of painting in general. It now hangs in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Rosa may not have studied art in a traditional school, but she definitely studied animal anatomy at schools for veterinarians, and at slaughterhouses in Paris, despite the fact that those were not a “suitable” place for a woman. She even got special permission from the police to wear a smock and trousers when she went there. 

Lion at Rest, 1880, is one of several lion paintings by Rosa Bonheur. The subject is likely of one of her pet lions.

In her lifetime she owned many animals, including several lions, an otter, and of course horses. She received many commissions, including from the French Empress Eugénie (who visited her at her home near Fontainebleu to give her the Legion of Honor). 

Highland Raid, 1860, is one of Rosa’s better-known pieces that stemmed from a trip she took to Scotland (she also met Queen Victoria on that trip). The title does not mean the shepherds are stealing these animals–it uses the old Scottish word “raid” meaning “road.”

Rosa never married, although she established her studio in Paris with her companion Nathalie Micas, and later in life she toured the United States and lived in France with a younger artist named Anna Klumpke from Boston, who painted her portrait the year before she died, wrote a definitive biography of her, and to whom she left her entire estate.

The Monarch of the Herd, 1867, was one of the paintings sold by her estate after her death. She may have studied red deer at her home near Fontainebleu.

By all accounts, Rosa lived life on her own terms. As in the story about the Paris police and the dress code of the day, she was not afraid to adjust the rules to suit her own needs; while feminism was not a major theme in her artwork, it most definitely was, in the way she lived her life

IMAGES: Many thanks to Wikipedia for the photo by Disdéri, and the images of Ploughing in the Nivernais, and The Monarch of the Herd. I am indebted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the image of The Horse Fair, to Art History Archive for Lion at Rest, and to the National Museum of Women in the Arts for Highland Raid. 

One but Many

Artdog Image of Interest

This design project was originally made by a student for her yearbook, and posted on her DeviantArt page. I think it captures the idea well.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Samantha Li for this image.

America’s “Secret Sauce”

Today’s Artdog Image of Interest:

During the month of July my Quotes of the Week and Images of Interest will explore the idea of “inclusive patriotism,” inspired by a recent column written by Robert Reich. I found an awesome opening-post image from the talented designer Ben Karis-Nix, to express my take on the theme.

strength-in-diversity

For the record: I support and believe in the ideal of a United States of America where people from everywhere are welcome, and where everyone has a right to speak their mind, get an education, and follow their dreams.

I believe in the ideal of all citizens having the right to vote, to eat regular meals, have adequate shelter, and receive adequate health care.

I dream of a USA where no mentally healthy person feels driven to build fences of fear and razor-wire against foreigners, arm him- or herself to the teeth for self-defense, or bar refugees from desperately-needed safe haven.

I believe that the United States has always been stronger because of its diversity, its deep reservoirs of cultural richness, and the cross-pollination of ideas, and I believe that a change of course to make our land less open, less free, and less inclusive is a change of course toward decline and destruction.

Feel free to disagree if you wish to leave comments, but please keep it civil.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Ben Karis-Nix for the use of his very cool image!

What do you think? An Artdog Image of Interest

As for me, I vote YES. This photo inspired quite a lot of commentary on my Facebook page, so I thought you might find it interesting to see on my blog.

Allow Partner Dog in Hospital Bed?

IMAGE: Many thanks to The German Shepherd Dog Community’s Facebook Page for this Artdog Image of Interest.

What is a Service Dog?

They show up in many places: service dogs of all sizes and breeds. Even in places where no dogs are supposed to be allowed. 

Can they really ALL be service dogs?

Sometimes the people they’re with really do look as if they are injured or impaired in some way–but other times the people look normal. 

And yes, sometimes it’s a scam. But businesses and the general public are legally required to treat them ALL as if they are real, and are really needed. The very good reason for this is that everyone’s burden is different, and everyone’s solutions to problems are different. Sometimes, just asking the question “Is that really a service dog?” can cause unintended harm. 

So whatever you might think you know about how “really necessary” that service dog is, choose the path of compassion. Give your fellow human (and service dog) a break–Also, please don’t pet or distract the service dog! It really can put the dog’s human in danger!

I recently posted about working dogs, in a piece called Working Dogs: Canine Enslavement or a Fulfilling Life? (you can find it on both my Blogger site, and on my Jan S. Gephardt’s Artdog Studio website). I intend to follow up with more posts about dogs and the various kinds of work they do.

IMAGE: Many thanks to The Dog Knowledge, for the photo of a variety of service dogs. 

Or maybe it’s your idea of a “treasure island”?

last-minute-summer-plansIf you’re like most of my friends, reading is one of life’s best joys–or, at least, I hope that for you! I can’t imagine a creative summer for anyone of any age without chances to voyage to the far shores of the imagination, via books.

1000-books-long-iconSummer reading is one of the best ways a child can stay fluent and avoid the dreaded summer slump. My friend Veda Jairrels has made a strong case for reading as a massive help against the achievement gap in this country. She’s founded a group on Facebook, the 2000 Book Movement, and groups such as 1000 Books Before Kindergarten are helping turn the idea into a movement.

But reading is wonderful for people of all ages. It opens us to new ideas and in some cases whole new worlds–or gives us better tools for dealing with the world where we live. Whether you prefer traditional “dead trees” books, e-books on a reader or pad, or audio versions–or whether you like to mix all three types–reading is foundational to a well-rounded intellectual life. 

Oh, and while you’re reveling in the riches of the written word . . . don’t forget to support your community’s library and shop at independent, locally-owned bookstores! Those are community resources we really don’t want to lose. 

IMAGE: Many thanks to DMCI Homes for the “quilt and books” image, and to the Middletown Public Library for the “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” image.

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